My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

We hear ourselves echo this very sentiment so often in our everyday lives or variations of it such as “Why wasn’t God there when ______ &______ happened?”, “Why doesn’t God see how much I need ______ in my life?” or “Why isn’t God answering my prayers? Why did He leave me when I needed him the most?” In our weakness and in our desperation we question the presence of God in our lives. Therefore it seems almost absurd to think that Jesus himself uttered those exact words to his Father in heaven moments before his breathed his last.

Even before being arrested by the guards at the garden of Gethsemane, we see how Jesus pleaded with his Father: “if you are willing, take this cup away from me.” The author of the Gospel of Luke describes the deep agony Jesus was in as he intensely prayed and “his sweat became like great drops of blood.”  In research done by Christian apologists, this describes a medical condition called Hematidrosis and the common cause of this rare state was discovered to be grave fear and deep mental examination. Imagine the extreme ache Jesus had in this heart that night in the garden!

How could a person so holy, almighty, all-knowing, and powerful possibly experience a flash of distress, loneliness and anguish?  For many of us it’s hard to visualize Jesus slipping into a moment of weakness – a moment so relatable and real to us in our time now. The simple answer through my reflection is not a how but a why; and that’s because God wants to love us. It lies in the very core of our beliefs that Jesus became man so He could embrace every single quality and trait of our humanness, except that He never fell to sin. Jesus wants to experience the same pain, grief and weakness that we feel are so unfathomable in ourselves so that we can in turn, turn to Him and unite our sufferings with His.  

Whether we are a striving to be the perfect Catholic or are just trying to figure out how faith fits into our lives; we are weak and we will always fall short. The sooner we allow ourselves room to admit that, the sooner we realize and are able to grasp the fact that it’s in our nothingness and littleness that we can most feel the presence of God in our lives. With this, Jesus can meet us and unite us to Himself. The beauty of our faith is that the story of our lives doesn’t end in suffering. Heartache, distress and death do not have the last word. I see no better time than during the Easter triduum to take this journey with Jesus right from the agony in the garden with the foresight of his suffering, to the actual torture of the Cross, and finally to victory in the Resurrection – victory over sin, death and pain. I see no better time than this to experience our victory with Him.  

“Where, O death, is your victory?
 Where, O death, is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

This reflection was written by Chermaine Raj, who has an odd phobia combo of dogs and dolls. Currently, she is trying her best to keep up with Aussie lingo (sweet az!). She has a Bachelor's in Psychology and strongly denies all accusations of analyzing the people around her.